READING — Thousands of visitors will descend on the Greater Reading Expo Center on Saturday and Sunday for the return of the Redner’s Family Expo.
In its seventh year, the 2013 event focuses on the family — with food, products and entertainment for all ages. The popular expo is truly one that offers “something for everyone.”
“It’s a family-oriented event and we are a family owned company,” said Scott Black, director of advertising for Redner’s Warehouse Markets. “We’re privately owned — our employees own the company, so we’ve always been family oriented. It’s a way that we can give back to the community and thank them for their support.”
Berks-Mont Newspapers, a sister company of The Mercury, is one of the event’s sponsors and is show producer of the annual expo. According to Berks-Mont Newspapers Advertising Manager Denice Schaeffer, a similar event had been held in Fort Washington, but was moved to Berks County when the Reading facility opened.
“Redner’s came on board as the title sponsor in that first year and has stayed with it,” Schaeffer said. “Last year’s event attracted more than 10,000 visitors, and the goal for this year is 15,000.”
Black said that early on, the event seemed to double in size each year. Last year’s growth was between 20 and 30 percent, and Black said he expects something similar this year.
A total of 108 vendors are participating in this year’s Redner’s Family Expo, the highest number of booth participants in the event’s history, according to Schaeffer.
Some of the vendors (22) are food companies that do business with Redner’s. They will be offering samples of food and beverages within Redner’s Markets Pavilion. The remaining exhibitors (94) will showcase products and services for babies, toddlers, tweens, teens and adults, offering information and products dealing with childcare, education, health, toys, family entertainment, food, clothing, insurance and financial and more.
Black said the event has brought in some new customers over the years, people who were unfamiliar with Redner’s Warehouse Markets.
“It’s more of a thank-you. We have been fortunate to grow and continue to grow and its another way to give back,” Black said. “A lot of the non-profits we partner with — we make sure they have space at the expo if they want it. A lot of non-profit groups have wanted to come in, and we give them the space. By helping them out, we truly benefit the community.”
For Berks-Mont Newspapers, participating in the Redner’s Family Expo is a natural fit.
“Being able to partner with a company like Redner’s and to be a part of an event like this one that brings together the greater Berks County community is invaluable to us,” Schaeffer added. “It allows us to connect personally with our readers, and as a weekly newspaper group, that is a phenomenal opportunity.”
Patricia Paul, controller for Berks-Mont Newspapers, said that as planning gets underway for next year, “our goal is to get more involvement from Berks-based businesses joining with Redner’s as the title sponsor to make the Family Expo even more of a community event.”
While Black said Redner’s looks forward to continuing the tradition of the expo, just where the event will be held is up in the air.
The Greater Reading Expo Center has told organizers of events at the Expo Center that they will not be booking any events for next year. In fact, the Redner’s Family Expo is the last event — of any kind — scheduled at the center. There is still no official word about what will happen with the expo center, but the facility’s website shows there are no shows booked after this weekend’s Family Expo.
Schaeffer added that the 2014 Redner’s Family Expo will happen — at a site to be determined.
“As soon as this year’s event is complete, planning will begin on the 2014 event,” Schaeffer said. “We already have people looking at sites in the Reading area that would be appropriate for this event and planning will get underway in full force for next year.”
The 2013 Redner’s Markets Family Expo is sponsored by Berks-Mont Newspapers, About Families, Reading Eagle, WFMZ-TV, Quality Plus Ford and Berks County Living.
Tickets for the Redner’s Markets Family Expo are $6 for adults, $4 for children 12 and under and $4 for seniors. Children 2 and under are free. For $29.95, purchase a family pack and receive 2 adult/2 children’s tickets and receive a $20 Redner’s gift card. Tickets can be purchased online at www.rednersfamilyexpo.com and at the door.
The Greater Reading Expo Center is located at 2525 N. 12th St., just off the Warren Street Bypass (Route 12) in Reading.
For more information about the 2013 Redner’s Markets Family Expo, including a list of exhibitors, the entertainment schedule, to order tickets and directions to the Expo Center, visit www.rednersfamilyexpo.com.